Wednesday, November 15, 2017

A Simple Practice

Here's a simple meditation technique that anyone can fit into their schedule.  It’s called the Twenty Breaths Practice.  It only takes a few minutes, can be performed almost anywhere, and can yield great stress relief.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

ACA Open Enrollment

The Health Insurance Marketplace of the Affordable Care Act is open for enrollment.  Despite much back and forth in politics and the press, all plans in the marketplace still include full coverage for mental healthcare.  Don't be left without coverage.

From NAMI:

November 1, 2017 was the first day to enroll, re-enroll, or change a 2018 insurance plan through the Health Insurance Marketplace.

*Important Notice:  The 2018 open enrollment period is shorter than in previous years, so it's important to act quickly. The last day to enroll in or change a plan for 2018 coverage is December 15, 2017. Coverage will begin January 1, 2018. Those who do not purchase a plan may be subject to a penalty, as well as being uninsured for the year.
To preview plans and enroll, visit HealthCare.gov or call 1-800-318-25961-855-889-4325 (TTY) for more information.
For free assistance with applications or related questions, call a Health Insurance Marketplace Navigator at 1-855-274-5626



Wednesday, November 1, 2017

To Begin

Meditation is quite different from sitting there doing nothing, thinking nothing.  It is instead a focused attention on one’s present experience.  A chance to minimize the distractions that pull one away from the present. Pleasant events are often spoiled by comparison to other good experiences or worry that this wonder may soon end.  Difficult experiences are often tempered by a desire for escape and the fantasy of being somewhere else doing something else.  The mind will wander all over the place and our present experience, good or bad, may be missed.

So meditation becomes a practice.  A practice to remain here, in the present moment, fully aware.  It is something that must be practiced to achieve benefit, and the practice, though simple, can be extremely challenging.  But the benefits, as described in other posts and in countless others’ experience, are worth it.

So how does one begin?

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

New Meditation Class

I'll be teaching a mindfulness meditation class at Mama's Wellness Joint (11th and Pine in Philadelphia) on Tuesday evenings in November.  For information or to sign-up, click on this link:

http://www.mamaswellnessjoint.com/events/meditation-for-beginners-with-george-hofmann-4-week-course/

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Our Fear of Silence

The cultivation of mindfulness requires periods of focused attention.  Many proponents of mindfulness maintain that this is best developed through seated, silent meditation.  So, while I’d like to investigate how to focus the attention, we must first consider our relationship with silence.

Whether in the center of a city or deep in a forest, the cacophony of sounds around us makes it apparent that true silence is impossible.  Composer John Cage wrote music that included long periods of silence.  When the musicians stopped playing, concertgoers were quickly confronted with the shuffling, shifting, and coughing sounds in the concert hall.  So what is silence?  I like to think of it as the absence of intentional sound.  Intentional sounds are the things we turn on such as TVs and iPods, the words spoken or heard in a conversation we are engaged in, music we make such as humming or tapping, and the noise of tools, keyboards, or other objects we are interacting with.  Sounds that remain are unavoidable.  So silence is when we are purposefully quiet.  For many of us, this can be unsettling.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Calling Donald Trump Crazy is an Insult to Those with Mental Illness

I've had an op-ed piece published on PsychCentral that concerns the impact on the stigma against those with mental illness that can result from the political actions of mental health professionals.  The group in question is called Duty to Warn and has collected a large number of signatures on a petition calling for the ouster of the president.  As the editors of PsychCentral note, there is some debate over who has actually signed this petition.  John Gartner, PhD, the organizer of Duty to Warn, maintains that the signatories are people practicing in the field of mental health.  A look at the petition on Duty to Warn's website reveals that, although the form asks for credentials, ultimately, anyone can sign it.

Despite the debated number of doctors and therapists on the petition, the fact remains that by taking the position that, "acting like that he must be crazy; so he has to go," when commenting on a person with no assessed diagnosis can only set back the efforts of people who are diagnosed and seek to do well in their jobs.

Please have a look at the article and let me know what you think.  You can find it here:

Pathologizing the President

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Be in Touch

If you'd like to contact me with comments, suggestions, or just to reach out, find me at:

contact@practicingmentalillness.com